Category Archives: Roasted Vegetables

A fridge raid/store cupboard pan full…

Sometimes my meals are literally a result of opening the fridge and cupboard and seeing what can be thrown into a pan and made into something fabulous…right now, this is a perfect way to use what might be hiding in your fridge or cupboard.

Spices are a real gift right now, they can brighten up any meal, they can take any ingredient for zero to hero in a short sprinkle…check out my ‘pimp your veg’ section for ideas of where to start…

This pan pretty much had a handful of everything I had that needed using up, including previously roasted garlic, aubergine and tomatoes. With some homemade harissa and a herby mixture thrown over the top. Use whatever sauces or pastes you can find in your cupboard, veg from your freezer, things that need using up..

I topped mine with goats cheese and toasted flaked almonds but you could also use it as a topper for grains, alongside eggs, or the protein of your choice…now is the time to get creative, see what you can rustle up!!

If you’d like more ideas, check out my recipe index and tags or let me know if I can help..stay safe xx

Aubergine, coconut milk and marmite peanut butter ‘curry’…

This dish was one of those creations that starts off in one direction then takes on another, which is why I probably can’t really call it a ‘curry’, although that was the base. The addition of the marmite peanut butter (yes it’s a thing, and it’s SOOOOOO GOOD!) added a perfect extra flavour and texture to the dish at the end of cooking. If you don’t have access to this product, use standard peanut butter and add some marmite or an alternative umami flavouring that you like, or just the peanut butter.

I pre cooked the aubergines to ensure that they were fully cooked and as meltingly soft as they should be – in my view, very few things are worse than uncooked chunks of aubergine in a dish!

Ingredients

3 small aubergines, roasted whole (below)

12 baby plum tomatoes

1 small red onion peeled and chopped

2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped

2 tablespoons of tomato purée

200-300ml thin coconut milk

2-3 heaped tablespoons marmite peanut butter

2 tsp brown mustard seeds

2 tsp cumin seeds

1/2 tsp chilli powder

Option: I also added some leftover whole roasted garlic cloves that I had previously roasted.

Method

To roast the aubergines, prick the skins in several places, place them on an oven tray and roast at 200C/400F until they soften and collapse. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

In a large pan, heat some oil over a medium heat. Add the onion and mustard seeds to the pan and cook until the onion softens. Add the chopped garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes, add the cumin seeds and chilli powder and cook briefly.

Add the tomato purée and coconut milk. Stir well and cook for a few minutes.

Roughly chop the aubergines and add them and the whole tomatoes to the pan, add the peanut butter and keep stirring as the heat allows it to soften and spread through the mixture. This is when the sauce will thicken up and the real flavour will develop.

Turn the heat down and simmer for 5-10 minutes.

Serve immediately with rice or grains, or allow it to sit for several hours or days to develop flavour.

Roasted cauliflower curry…

This dish was a result of opening my spice cupboards, breathing in the aromas, and going with my instincts to create a dish I knew I would enjoy. It’s been a while since I played with my Spice Kitchen masala dabba spice tin, and it was a joy to revisit it..

Ingredients

Small/medium cauliflower, cut into even florets

500g passata/sieved tomatoes

Medium red onion, peeled and chopped

3 fat garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped

2 tablespoons tomato purée

2 healed tablespoons of ground almonds/almond flour

2 tsp brown mustard seeds

2 tsp ground ginger

2 tsp ground roasted cumin seeds

2 tsp Garam masala spice mix

1 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp ground turmeric

1/2 tsp ground chilli powder or to taste

Options: add vegetables of your choice, chunks of boiled potatoes can add some substance if necessary

Method

Heat your oven to 200C/400F, spread the cauliflower florets on a large oven tray and drizzle with olive oil. Roast until browned and softened without cooked so much that it’s falling apart. Keep to one side until needed.

In a large pan over a medium heat, warm some rapeseed oil, or oil of your choice, briefly. Add the mustard seeds, when they start to pop, add the chopped red onion. Cook for a few minutes until it starts to soften.

Add the chopped garlic, cook for a 1-2 minutes.

Add all of the spices except the the Garam masala and cook together for 1-2 minutes without burning the spices. Add the passata and tomato purée and stir well. Swish out the passata container with 100-200ml of water and add that to the pan. Stir it all well.

Turn the heat down, cover to save on splattering, and cook for 5 minutes.

Add the Garam masala and stir through, then add the ground almonds, stir through and cook for a further 5-10 minutes to thicken. Cook for longer for a thicker sauce, less for thinner.

Add the cauliflower florets and cover them all with the sauce and cook for a further 5-10 minutes. Turn the heat off, cover the pan and allow the flavours to develop for several hours, or a couple of days even, before heating and serving.

Eat on it’s own as a complete dish, or with rice, grains or lovely flatbreads.

Lots of lovely food! Dips and salads…

I’ve been washing and chopping and blending and tasting today and thought it was way beyond time that I share some of my recent concoctions…

This morning I was very excited to discover wild garlic leaves coming up in the secret place that I found it growing locally last year. I came home from walking Bob with some fresh leaves and added them to some of today’s creations.

I didn’t weigh and measure things but I can tell you what went into them..

Roasted butternut squash and sweet potato with chopped fresh leaf parsley and coriander, baby spinach leaves, garlic cloves, chopped spring onions, ground roasted cumin, salt, pepper, olive oil and lemon juice

Peas, chopped fresh leaf parsley and coriander, wild garlic leaves, garlic clove, ground cumin, coriander and caraway seeds, sumac, Aleppo chilli flakes, salt, pepper, olive oil and lemon juice. Lovely eaten with some grains and tahini & buttermilk sauce 🙂

A huge bag of baby spinach leaves, a couple of garlic cloves, ground roasted cumin, seasoning, olive oil and pomegranate molasses. I sometimes add spring onions this mix, and various spices

Roasted butternut squash flesh, homemade harissa, tahini and lemon juice

Peas, wild garlic leaves, tahini and lemon juice

Homemade harissa, buttermilk and tahini

All to be eaten with some lovely sourdough of course!

Have a great week 🙂

Happy New Year!!!

I have sadly neglected my lovely blog, but I have been cooking as much as I ever, I just need to get back to posting my dishes!

Our Christmas meal was a feast of my favourite Middle Eastern inspired dishes, below, including my most favourite cauliflower and chickpea dish and lots of dips!!! It was so good! Served with roasted vegetables and crunchy roast potatoes….very happy tummies!

I hope you all had a great Christmas and wishing you all wonderful New Year 🙂

I did plan to have some leftovers but I ate SOOOOO much of the cauliflower and chickpeas there wasn’t much left at all…

Roasted butternut squash with green sauces…

The temperatures have dropped, there’s a chill in the mornings, the grass is slowly turning back to green, and I can comfortably have the oven on again…yes, autumn is arriving in the UK! Hallelujah!

I say the same thing every year about how much I love autumn, it’s my favourite season, and I celebrated its imminent arrival this year with my first tray of roasted butternut squash of the season..

Skin on, the lightest drizzle of olive oil, and a hot hot oven!

Is there truly anything much better in life!??

On this occasion I ate it piping hot with a mixture of accompaniments..

The totally green sauce is a mix of fresh spinach, mixed herbs, garlic, spring onions, olive oil, lemon juice, ground cumin, Aleppo chilli flakes, a pinch of cinnamon, salt & pepper.

The other green sauce is fresh coriander, leaves and stalks, garlic, tahini, lemon juice and mixed roasted seeds.

And all with a buttermilk and tahini sauce.

Yep! My kind of heaven!!!

Green sauces have figured a lot in my dishes recently, they’re a variation of salsa verde really, always with added spices, all very similar, but different! This one was with quinoa, baby plum tomatoes and homous. With a sprinkling of Aleppo chilli flakes and toasted sunflower seeds.

Happy Autumn northern hemisphere dwellers!

Fresh hazelnuts…

These are fresh hazelnuts, sometimes called cobnuts, and they grow on the trees all along the canal where I walk Bob, and litter the ground.

Most of them have been gnawed by wildlife, but some remain intact and yesterday I decided to pick some up..

They’re so pretty; to me they represent the countryside and regrowth and everything lovely about where I live…although right now the ground is sadly parched from the extended heat and lack of rain 😦

When cracked open carefully, they give up their milky white kernels which can be eaten raw or toasted, and added to all sorts of dishes.

My little haul

Its hard to describe the taste & texture, but they taste ‘fresh’ and young, with a crunch, but not a hard crunch like mature nuts.

I chopped some up and added them to my lunch yesterday: a whole roasted aubergine filled with a roasted pepper, mild red chilli, cherry tomato, spring onion, garlic and tabil spice sauce, and topped with tahini, roasted seeds, and the chopped fresh hazelnuts…

They made an nice addition to the dish!

If you get a chance to try some, I definitely recommend it 🙂

Aubergine boats…

As I mentioned in my previous post, I love aubergines cooked whole, whether over fire on a barbecue, under a grill, in an oven or over a gas burner. The flesh becomes meltingly soft, it is truly the best way to cook aubergines.

Sometimes I remove the skin to use the flesh in a salad or dip, but I don’t like the waste, so I usually eat the whole thing.

However you choose to cook your aubergines whole, do remember to prick the skin otherwise they will explode!

If I don’t chop the aubergines up for various uses, I like to use them whole and fill them with whatever I have to hand..

This one was filled with quinoa and a sauce made of fresh spinach, garlic, almond butter, buttermilk, lemon juice and courgette, and topped with cumin seeds, Aleppo chilli flakes and sesame seeds. On the side is a grilled red pepper dip.

This one is filled with more quinoa mixed with chopped herbs, garlic, spring onions, spices, olive oil, lemon juice, and drizzled with tahini.

Whatever you fill your whole aubergine with, ensure that it is packed full of flavour and not too dry, this will then seep into the soft flesh and create a whole edible wonder 🙂

Hot or cold, whole aubergines work as the perfect carrier for my foods…happy weekend…I think it’s long overdue that I visit Fiesta Friday and say hello to my fellow bloggers….do pop over and see what great food other bloggers are sharing…

The colours of my food…

Laura’s recent post about eating a rainbow made me realise it’s been far too long since I shared some of my food; colour fills my world, my kitchen cupboards (the spices, the crockery, the vegetables..) my wardrobe, and definitely my plate…

I can’t imagine not eating a variety of colourful flavourful dishes throughout the week. Not only is it good for your health, it’s HAPPY food! Happiness on a plate!!

This summer I decided to follow in the steps of many of my US food blogger family members and invest in a gas grill/BBQ to be able to cook outside when the temperatures rise and not turn on the ovens in my kitchen unless really necessary. Every time we use the BBQ I therefore also ask my husband to grill stocks of vegetables for me to use through the week…

A sea of goodness and possibility on our new grill/BBQ

I love these vegetables freshly cooked, cold, reheated, marinated, turned into dips, in endless ways. Having them already cooked means that they are full of that great chargrilled flavour and immediately ready to use…I like that too!

I think my favourite, which isn’t shown here, are whole grilled aubergines, the flesh becomes meltingly soft and so good for some many salads or dips, or used here as a perfect boat to fill with all sorts of my concoctions – including this one which was made from spinach, fresh coriander and hazelnuts, then drizzled with a nut butter dressing and sprinkled with Aleppo chilli flakes

The red peppers are great for salads, dips, harissa, sauces, like this red pepper homous…

I like nothing more than making up some sort of salsa verde, (which is what the two first pics are below), whether it’s based on chimichurri, chermoula, an Indian coriander chutney, or any mix of fresh herbs, garlic, spring onions, spices, olive oil, vinegar or lemon juice, maybe add some pomegranate molasses, and marinate chopped roasted vegetables with it, and leaving them to develop great flavours together…

Salsa verde always goes well with sweet potato, the sourness from the lemon juice/vinegar/pomegranate molasses is a work of art against the sweetness of the potato

This concoction, as shown at the top of the post, is an example of everything in one bowl: lots of the chargrilled vegetables with a salsa verde of some sort. It got better day after day as the flavours developed.

My Instagram account shows even more of these dishes, and more details of what’s in them, but for now, enjoy the colours of my world…

Enjoy!

Pimping leftovers with Petra’s goodies…

I LOVE leftovers; to me, leftovers, or foods eaten a day or two after cooking/preparing them, taste vastly better than they did on day one. Flavours develop to create something so good that I pretty much always plan for leftovers and extras…

Today I had a variety of cooked vegetables and fresh herbs to use up and I decided to pimp them with some new products in my cupboard: last year my lovely blog friend, Petra, from the blog Food Eat Love, starting selling her homemade food products at her local Saturday market. She started off with amazingly pretty fresh pastas and sauces, and then expanded into sauces and crackers and jams and chutneys. Recently, she sent me some goodies to try, and I have used most of them in my dishes today. Let me show you…

These are what Petra sent me to try…lucky me! The two bottles that you can’t see the labels on are a ‘very hot hot sauce’ and a sweet chilli ginger sauce.

I’m afraid the dry tomato and coconut chutney was devoured first a little while ago, it was so good I literally ate in from the jar in two sittings..

If you can try this stuff, you really should! Included in the ingredients are cobnuts which give the chutney a great texture. But the rest I played with today…

So to today’s pimping…this was my lunch platter…

It includes…

Leftover broccoli & cauliflower, blended with yoghurt, crunchy hazelnut butter & Petra’s sweet chilli ginger sauce which added great flavour to the vegetables.

My homemade garlic mayonnaise pimped with Petra’s very hot hot sauce – perfect pimping.

Leftover roasted carrots & red onions blended with tahini, yoghurt & lemon juice…so good, the lemon juice and roasted carrots always works well together.

Fresh flat leaf parsley & coriander chopped up with my pickled garlic, spring onions, ground cumin, Aleppo chilli flakes, salt, olive oil, my homemade apple cider vinegar & Petra’s caramelised Seville orange & chilli treacle – I often add pomegranate molasses to my salsa verde concoctions and this was a great alternative.

All eaten with Petra’s Carta Di Musica flatbreads which are wonderfully thin and crunchy.

How’s that for a tasty lunch? And a perfect use of leftovers! Even if I do say so myself…;)

So a big thank you to Petra for letting me try some of her great products. I shall be sharing my concoctions with everyone at this week’s Fiesta Friday, which is after all, where Petra and I ‘met’. In the meantime, do check out Petra’s Instagram page if you’re an instagram user and enjoy her beautiful pups as well as those gorgeous pastas…one day I’ll get to try some of them!